Supreme Court Ends PRS/Gibson Lawsuit

Supreme Court Ends PRS/Gibson Lawsuit

June 6, 2006

Paul Reed Smith Guitars has announced that the United States Supreme Court today denied Gibson Guitar's final appeal of a Court of Appeals decision upholding PRS' right to make a single cutaway-style guitar.

When first introduced more than six years ago at the NAMM show, the PRS Singlecut® quickly captured the attention of artists and critics, winning awards for its design and quality. Gibson filed a suit in Nashville that asserted trademark infringement against its Les Paul guitar. After several years of litigation, the local federal district court judge initially sided with Gibson. That court ordered PRS to stop sales of its Singlecut®. Several companies joined PRS in urging the appellate court--the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit--to reverse the decision.

Last year, the Sixth Circuit ruled that an injunction should never have been issued by the lower court. The court observed that Gibson conceded that only "an idiot" would ever confuse a PRS Singlecut® and a Gibson Les Paul. Based on that concession and the overwhelming evidence, the Sixth Circuit found that Gibson's trademark case had no merit and summarily dismissed the suit. The Supreme Court's decision today leaves the Sixth Circuit opinion in place and ends Gibson's multi-year effort.

Paul Reed Smith, the company founder, stated: "Everyone was extremely supportive of our cause and our company over the last six years, fully embracing our decision to fight back against Gibson's charges." Smith added: "My thanks especially go to those in the industry who helped educate the court: the media, our industry peers, guitar craftsmen and industry scholars. Their help was invaluable."

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